American media urges US to block fighter jets sale to Nigeria

– The US plans to sell fighter jets to Nigeria to combat
Boko Haram
– The New York Times wrote that this should be
– The media claimed Nigeria has a history of human
rights violation
The New York Times, an American based media has asked
the President Barack Obama-led administration to block the
sale of 12 attack aircrafts to Nigeria.
The US in its commitment to help Nigeria decimate Boko
Haram planned to sell the fighter planes to Nigeria but the
New York Times said this should be blocked on the ground
that Nigeria had violated human rights.
It said between 2011 and 2015, Nigeria’s military violated
rights of ordinary people in a bid to combat Boko Haram
menace during the administration of Goodluck Jonathan.
Read full editorial below
Fourteen months after the election of President
Muhammadu Buhari in Nigeria, the Obama administration
is considering selling his government 12 warplanes. It is a
thorny decision because Mr. Buhari is an improvement
over his disastrous predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, and is
fighting Boko Haram, the Islamist extremists who have
terrorized the region. But he has not done enough to end
corruption and respond to charges that the army has
committed war crimes in its fight against the group. Selling
him the planes now would be a mistake.
READ ALSO: USA demands release of Chibok girls
Under Mr. Buhari, Nigeria has cooperated more with Chad
and Niger to fight Boko Haram. The group, which emerged
in the early 2000s, has seized land in the northeastern,
predominantly Muslim section of Nigeria. Thousands of
people have been killed and 2.2 million displaced. The
group’s depravity captured world attention in 2014 when it
kidnapped 276 girls from a secondary school.

A-29 Super Tucano
While violence is down and some territory has been
recaptured, the group continues to attack remote villages
and refugee camps, and it is using women and children as
suicide bombers. American military officials say that Boko
Haram has begun collaborating with the Islamic State and
that the groups could be planning attacks on American
allies in Africa.
Yet Nigeria’s government cannot be entrusted with the
versatile new warplanes, which can be used for ground
attacks as well as reconnaissance. Its security services have
long engaged in extrajudicial killings, torture and rape,
according to the State Department’s latest annual human
rights report. Amnesty International says that during the
army’s scorched-earth response to Boko Haram between
2011 and 2015, more than 8,200 civilians were murdered,
starved or tortured to death.
READ ALSO: Chibok girl’s rescue gives hopes for others
The Obama administration was so concerned about this
record that two years ago it blocked Israel’s sale of
American-made Cobra attack helicopters to Nigeria and
ended American training of Nigerian troops. American
officials even hesitated to share intelligence with the
military, fearing it had been infiltrated by Boko Haram. That
wariness has eased and American officials say they are now
working with some Nigerian counterparts.
Since winning election on a reform platform, Mr. Buhari has
moved to root out graft and to investigate human rights
abuses by the military. But the State Department said
Nigerian “authorities did not investigate or punish the
majority of cases of police or military abuse” in 2015.
READ ALSO: Ezekwesili reacts to news of rescued Chibok
That hardly seems like an endorsement for selling the
aircraft. Tim Rieser, a top aide to Senator Patrick Leahy,
who wrote the law barring American aid to foreign military
units accused of abuses, told The Times that “we don’t have
confidence in the Nigerians’ ability to use them in a manner
that complies with the laws of war and doesn’t end up
disproportionately harming civilians, nor in the capability
of the U.S. government to monitor their use.”
To defeat Boko Haram, which preys on citizens’ anger at the
government, Mr. Buhari will need more than weapons. He
has to get serious about improving governance and
providing jobs, roads and services in every region of
Nigeria. Until then or until Congress develops ways to
monitor the planes’ use, it should block the sale.
Meanwhile, one of the Chibok school girls abducted by the
deadly Boko Haram insurgents in April 2014 was found.
According to a report by the Hausa service of the BBC, the
girl was rescued in the Sambisa Forest, close to the border
with Cameroon on Tuesday, May 18.
The rescued girl identified as Amina Ali Nkek from Mbalala
village, south of Chibok was said to have been found by
members of vigilante group known as Civilian JTF.